BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Mackenzie Holmes scored 20 points, Grace Berger added 14 points and 10 assists and No. 2 Indiana beat Purdue 83-60 on Sunday to clinch a share of its first Big Ten regular-season title in 40 years.
The Hoosiers (26-1, 16-1 Big Ten) won their 14th straight, matching the second-longest winning streak in school history, before cutting down the nets in front of the program’s first home sellout. Indiana has broken the single-game attendance mark four times this season, this time celebrating its 18th straight home win in front of 17,222.
Lasha Petree led Purdue with 23 points and Abbey Elliss added 12. The Boilermakers (17-8, 8-7). have lost nine straight in this rivalry.
Students and fans lined up outside the arena doors hours before tipoff and the party continued though the traditional Senior Day festivities, the introduction of Indiana’s only other regular-season title team from 1982-83 and the long-awaited postgame net-cutting.
Still, the Boilermakers made it tough on Indiana.
They closed the first half on a 7-0 run to cut a 10-point deficit to 37-34 and were still down five early in the second half..
But Berger and Holmes combined for six straight points and Chloe Moore-McNeil added a midrange jumper to make it 52-39 with 4:19 left in the third quarter. Then, after Purdue scored five straight, the Boilermakers gave those points right back on one play — with Moore-McNeil making a 3-pointer and Sydney Parrish making two throws to give Indiana a 60-44 lead with 1:15 left.
The Boilermakers never recovered.
Purdue: Coach Katie Gearlds has revived the Boilermakers program. Despite hanging around for a half, Purdue ran into a perfect second-half storm. Better days are ahead Gearlds and her program, maybe even this week, as they try to make their NCAA Tournament case.
Indiana: It’s been a dream season for the Hoosiers. They’ve broken record after record on and off the court and now they’ve ended a 40-year regular-season title drought. But they insist they’re not finished yet. Winning their first outright conference crown should set up Indiana for a deep run in the conference tourney and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Nobody can quibble with the Hoosiers’ ranking. They’re 9-0 against ranked teams, perfect at home and one win away from matching the school’s longest winning streak. But unless defending national champion South Carolina’s perfect season ends, Indiana will remain No. 2.
Purdue: Hosts Penn State on Wednesday.
Indiana: Gets a six-day break before facing No. 7 Iowa next Sunday.